Tiger's Tail

Gus Lee, Author Knopf Publishing Group $24 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-43855-7
In the manner of Malraux, Greene and le Carre, Lee--in a wise and wrenching novel, beautifully told--uses the thriller form to explore the human condition. His compass is Army prosecutor Jackson Hu-chin Kan, a Chinese-American who resembles not only Lee himself (both went to West Point) but also Kai Ting, hero of Lee's autobiographical first two novels, China Boy (1991) and Honor and Duty (1994). The setting is an isolated Army base along the DMZ between South and North Korea during the bitter winter of early 1974. Kan has been sent there to find another prosecutor, who's gone missing. Aided by two tough sidekicks, one a woman, he sees his mission expand to include deposing the base's power-mad commander, releasing a Yank soldier from a hellhole of a Korean prison and, as the suspense ratchets up, protecting some nuclear arms from a devilish threat. Meanwhile, Kan faces a personal mission: to come to terms with his killing of a young girl during combat in Vietnam--an incident that has come to signify for him God's utter alienation from humanity. Lee's exploration of contrasting Chinese, Korean and American ways are bold and revelatory. His characters tend to wear white or black hats, however, and he sometimes barely skirts sentimentality. But through vigorous prose that writhes across the page, his vision--daring, deep and unflaggingly moral--comes to vibrant life as he takes Kan on a tense and moving journey toward redemption. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-0-345-47279-3
Open Ebook - 253 pages - 978-0-307-48083-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 370 pages - 978-0-8041-1326-7
Hardcover - 978-0-517-19399-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8041-1593-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57375-464-4
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